Have you ever been able to see growth in yourself?
I’m not talking about height or hair length, but rather a deeper sort of growth. For example, you are uptight and controlling on a vacation with friends. A year later you go on another trip and find you’ve relaxed. You’re communicating your thoughts and feelings better, and everyone is pulling their weight instead of you feeling like you had to do everything.
That’s exactly what happened to me this past week. I journeyed out west with five other ladies to explore Havasu Falls, Zion National Park, the Hoover Dam and the slot canyons in Page, Arizona. Almost the same group had ventured out west last year to visit the Grand Canyon. However, I had some struggles with communication, control and unmet expectations. It had been a difficult trip in many ways, but mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to relax and bring others in for help.
This year was completely different. I’ve become more aware of my weaknesses and needs since the last trip. Going in, one of my friends and I set some things in motion to help. First, I created an itinerary. Second, each evening we went over what the next day looked like, all agreeing on a time to leave the next morning and what the activities were going to be. And finally, we talked with the rest of the group to divvy up tasks, everyone taking a couple meals to cook or volunteering to wash the dishes after.
All of the above were super helpful in setting up clear expectations. The group was clearly communicated with each and every day. We were all on the same page.
But, it was also up to me to relinquish control. I had to choose if I would trust my friends to do their tasks. I had to trust they would get up on time – we are all adults after all. And I had to be flexible if things didn’t go quite as planned. It can take me a moment to adjust if something shifts, but I found I was able to more often than not.
I suppose there are two lessons from my trip I’d like to leave you with: First, you can grow and change. It’s taken a lot of work and internal searching, but I’ve made leaps and bounds over the past year in communication, vulnerability, relationship building and more. There have been dark times, but the freedom I’ve found is worth it. So, if you’re feeling discouraged in your personal growth, I would challenge you to reflect on where you were a year ago. Take some time to praise yourself and the change that has been made.
Second, there is a balance. My planning and desire for organization is not bad. However, when my need for control and structure are overbearing and ridged, it’s not helpful to anyone. There is a healthy dose of control and relaxing. I am working to find it, and I realize it’s going to be a daily journey to do so. So, work for that balance. Work to find organization and relaxation. Based on my personal experience, I can tell you there is great freedom in that.